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Shutting down, system rebooting, skin rehydrating

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I think I'm a well-dressed person most times. But if What Not To Wear ever taped me walking Stuart the dog, I'd be in deep fudge. Nike yoga pants that are too tight, broken flip flops, tragic 5K T-shirt. And hair. The haiiiir. I'm mostly loving my short hair, but in the mornings before I do anything with it, it looks cray, as if the strands and the roots and the cowlicks have all had a punch fight. Like a Nick Nolte mug shot. Jim recently told me I look like Macaulay Culkin, and while that might not be the most romantic thing a gentleman has err said to a lady, there's no denying it's the truth. As a journalist, I must abide.

It fits my current state. I've felt like total crap the past few days. Head, sinuses, stomach, general malaise. I'm pretty sure it's my own fault. The past couple weeks I've gone full steam without a break, subsisting on nothing but Special K bars, coffee and Diet Coke (it CONTAINS water). I tend to do this until my immune system kindly replies with a big "EFF YOU" and then goes to sleep.

After a couple days of rest and a generous helping of vitamin C, water, cheesecake and chocolate chips from the bag, I'm feeling much more energetic and clear. My first instinct is to whip out my novel and start editing, or start a new story, or clean my upstairs bedroom, or go jogging, or do push-ups on the Swiss ball, or go shopping, or self-tan. But this is the kind of behavior that got me sick in the first place. So instead I'm... blogging. "Useless," they all chant on cue! "She's totally daft!"

On top of my more routine self-destructive behavior, I have a long-planned group dinner tonight with ten of my oldest girlfriends (not old as in, like, 78, but old as in, like, I've known them forever).

And the place we are going has a salsa band and sangria. Which means I'll probably have pneumonia by morning and subsequently end up a tragic hospital victim a la Halloween II. Cool.

By the way, did you know the tag line of Halloween II? "MORE OF THE NIGHT HE CAME HOME." Seriously, isn't that pretty lazy? Or maybe they were just going for the direct approach. "More stabbing and whatever, you feel me?"

For your reading plesh, I liked this Atlantic piece about why we writerly types work better in coffee shops. I think all the reasons are true, and there is some sad insight in the final explanation. If you go to a coffee shop with nothing to work on and just sit there for three hours, people assume you are a pedophile looking for a victim. But when you have a laptop, you're a blooming literary genius.

Time to go force rest and fluids upon myself, followed by tapas. See you later, maybe.


Help me write a new story, plz

Monday, April 11, 2011

I've written a novel which I'm obsessively polishing these days. But at some point when I got bored with obsessively polishing, I wrote this passage as a distraction. It starts and ends here, and I don't know where it's going or if it's going anywhere. But I kind of smell what it's stepping in, ya know? Where do you think I should take it? Let's play Choose Your Own Adventure: Found Fiction Passages! Leave me your ideas!

* * *

Her finger throbbed from all the scrolling and clicking.

Scroll. Click. Scroll. Click. Scroll. Click.

Brenda let out a sigh of… resignation? Disbelief? Irritation? She wasn’t sure what.

It has come to this.

One final Wheat Thin cowered in the darkest corner of the cracker box, afraid for its life. Brenda, without averting her swollen eyes from the monitor, snaked her free hand into the box, then into the plastic lining, then down to the powdery edges of the bag.


Brenda popped the cracker in her mouth, savoring the salty side on her tongue, letting it turn half to mush before chewing the balance ten times and swallowing. She had a system for eating Wheat Thins.

Brenda had a system for everything.

She brushed her stick-straight brown hair in three calculated stages – ends first, then nape to end, then crown to end.

She drove to work the same way every day, never stopping to try a cup of gourmet coffee from the shop a block away, never detouring along the beach to catch the sunrise.

She cataloged her DVDs alphabetically on a plain balsa bookshelf, starting with numerical titles at the front – 9 1/2 weeks, 12 Monkeys, 13 Going on 30.

She got her period on the same day every month, which she identified on her day planner with a small red Sharpie dot. She used the exact same number of flushable, super-absorbent tampons each time. Ten. She bought them in packs of 60 so she’d be covered for exactly half the year.

Brenda had control of everything. Almost.

Scroll. Click.

Jonas Bowder, 34.

She hovered the mouse over his black and white photo. He looked… puffy. Puffy was a nicer way to put it. If she thought of him as puffy, as having inflamed lymph nodes or an allergy to bees or something, she could avoid the fact that he was just fat. He wore rectangular plastic glasses and a suede jacket and a blue polo shirt. He had a shaved head, clearly a preemptive move because he was going bald. But he skillfully redirected attention with a goatee.

Brenda scrunched her nose.

What kind of name is Jonas?

* * *

(Copyright me, freaks)

Borders assualt, part two: Electronics!

Borders AGAIN.

I didn't buy any books this time. Just two CDs and a DVD. Grizzly Man! I already know how it ends, thanks to everyone in the world talking about it all the time, but I'm still seriously excited. Man. Bears. Cray-cray. I'm easy to please. Just look at this bear, would you? He's all, "Bitch, you didn't."

I also picked up a Fratellis CD for the main squeeze.

And a Brandi Carlile CD for myself. I typically like things that are a tad more upbeat, like pulsating booty rap for instance, but I was thinking some more mellow music would be nice for nights when my friends come over to discuss our thoughts, feelings and menstrual cycles. Plus, it was 80 cents.

Grand total? $5.20.

Oh, Borders.

My Borders clearance haul is assaulting me

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Borders in my 'hood is closing (son of a...), and I've been toying with some sort of narrative story about it for the newspaper.  That means I've been going to Borders kind of a lot. And every time I go to Borders, as you would imagine, I leave with armfuls of clearance books. It's like I need an intervention. A bookervention. Wow, that sounds boring. I guess there's a reason A&E has yet to pick up that series.

I'm typically a one-book woman (old-fashioned that way). I like to get all the way through a story before starting another one, because there's too much gobbledygook in this blond brain to handle multiple novels at once. But right now, I'm breaking all my rules. THE CLEARANCE DEMANDS IT.
I have three books going. Rich Again by Anna Maxted. Delightfully more raunchy than the cover suggests, by the way. Where are my blotting papers?

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan.

And Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. I'm kind of obsessed with the Spellmans, and Lisa Lutz. Three cheers for wacky lady crime nuts.

Apparently I have a propensity for buying books with hot neon covers. I also clearly veer toward the feminine, and I don't apologize for it. Sure, I could have thrown in some Franzen here if I wanted to impress someone. But it's my free time, and I'm reading neon. Non-neon books can enjoy a cold glass of STFU.

I also picked up Belong to Me by award-winning poet-genius Marisa de los Santos. I read Love Walked In, her debut, and I thought it was just the most beautiful book. It's like a biscuit soaked in butter. I have high hopes for the follow up.

And last but not least. Well.

Haters can get in on that glass of STFU, because Bridget Jones's Diary is pretty much the beginning of the time-space continuum for me. It emboldened women to talk openly about their granny panties, body hair and poor sexual decisions. Plus, it's really frekking funny. It's the holy land. I've read this book, as well as the sequel, so many times. I had a VHS TAPE of the movie in college, and for a while no cable, so I just played it on a loop on my 12-inch TV. Every day, every night, until the tape burned out. I'm sad and pathetic, but let's not dwell there.

I realized something while standing in that liquidating Borders. I don't actually OWN the book. No, the copy I wore out belonged to my roommate, Julia. I pilfered her copy all through college and then never got my own. I'm pretty sure she could press charges.

It was $5 in Borders, so I think I just worked a fourth book into my course load. Worth it. Would love to hear what everyone else is reading (all three of you).